Thursday, April 15, 2010

GL's Post-Hearing Roundup

GL's hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee is over.

Overall, I think it went well. I don't think some senators' atempts to focus on the welfare rights article were successful--partly because the passages they quoted consisted of complex academic language.

And GL was able to circumvent other "hot topic" issues like gun control or capital punishment by either stating that he had no opinion, or in fact that he agreed with the questioner's premise.

He was a little on the defensive in light of his prior comments during the Roberts/Alito confirmations, but he avoided falling into the trap of comparing their nominations with his own.

And of course he took a bit of a battering on the late submissions of documents issue. But I really can't see how that could really be used to justify Republican opposition.

The correct link to Jesse Choper's letter is here. (Thanks for the tip, anonymous!) I still am waiting for Whelan's response. I'm sure hill have some indignant mouth-frothing on the hearing posted soon.


The White House has confirmed Goodwin's nomination here.

Prior N&B threads on Goodwin Liu shows a surprisingly wide range of view at Boalt. There are clearly a lot Boalties that worship at the Church of Goodwin. There are others that think that his constitutional law classes were overly biased in the ACS direction. (These last two sentences may not be unrelated.) I don't really know enough about GL to make any opinions. I thought his graduation speech last may was underwhelming. But he's been very helpful to me in the few situations in which I've interacted with him.

The logistical problem facing N&B on this topic is that, these days, the confirmation of judicial nominations can take years--if they happen at all. And the track record of speedy confirmations for Obama nominees is not good. Although the LA Times article suggests that GL has well-placed conservative supporters, he may be a controverial nomination (based on his ACS leadership and his opposition to the Alito SCOTUS nomination). And if we keep popping up with thread updates every few months, then we'll separate all the different comments.

So I propose keeping this as a kind of enduring GL Confirmation thread. I'll try to keep it updated as appropriate, and will bump it whenever there are any new developments. I also may change the title as appropriate, but will keep the comments. Of course, other posters can start their own threads. (After all, I'm sure there will be plenty of press releases coming out soon...)

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe you should actually read that Wikipedia article.

2/24/2010 9:21 AM  
Blogger Sean said...

You misspell courtesy in your link.

Also, the content of the Wikipedia article does support his point, 9:21. The fact that it is not mandatory for Court of Appeals appointments doesn't change that it happens.

2/24/2010 9:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The article does not support his point. We have not heard what any other Democratic senator in a 9th circuit state has said. Therefore, one senator's nomination may NOT as well be "Obama's official announcement".

Now Feinstein is a very senior senator, and the Senate's rules are arcane, so maybe there is more to it than I can discern. But lets not count our chickens before they are hatched.

2/24/2010 9:38 AM  
Blogger Matt said...

Sen. Feinstein is also the only Democrat from a Ninth Circuit state serving on the Judiciary Committee, so that might make her single "nomination" much more meaningful. In any event, my email box tells me that DE should be coming out with a press release at some point today (once they cross the I's and dot the T's, or whatever).

2/24/2010 9:42 AM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

Maybe 9:38 would prefer I used a "See" cite!

Although judicial circuits usually include several states, particular seats are conventionally seen as being state-specific. That's why when the 10th and 11th Circuits were created, each state retained the same number of judicial positions.

GL would be nominated for an (informally designated) CA seat--most likely, the vacant position created at the beginning of 2009. Similarly, a California senator wouldn't make a public recommendation for the (Arizona) vacancy arising from Hawkins retirement.

Particularly since Feinstein is a (co-)senior senator (and Judiciary Committee member!) of the same party as the President, her speechwriter-prepared soundbite seems clearly part of the coordinated launch of GL's nomination.

2/24/2010 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Carbolic is right - it is generally only the senators from the state in which the circuit seat is located who recommend judges for the seat. I discussed the nomination process with a number (4-5) of 9th circuiters when I externed there a couple summers ago, and I got the same response from each of them: only their state's senators where involved.

2/24/2010 9:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shouldn't this post be titled "Boalt's Second-Best Con Law Professor Nominated to the Ninth Circuit"?

2/24/2010 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the last comment is suggesting Choper is the best, you need to sit in on one of his classes.

2/24/2010 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don't know what 10:11 is talking about. Liu's Con Law course is perpetually over enrolled. Last year he won the campuswide Distinguished Teaching Award.

2/24/2010 10:16 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Y*o also teaches Con Law. Do not forget him!

2/24/2010 10:51 AM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

I think 10:11 is trying to suggest that I *heart* JY. (Yoo-phoria!) Either that, or someone has a big crush on Kristen Holmquist.

2/24/2010 10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow this threat totally ruined my high. I specifically googled this blog for some Boaltie love and celebration! Forget all the analysis-- congrats to Goodwin Liu, what an honor for him and for Boalt!

2/24/2010 12:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

meant to say "thread" not "threat." agghghhhh too excited

2/24/2010 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Sarah said...

Yes! Congratulations to Goodwin Liu! As a student in his con law class, I found him to be anything but a "knee-jerk" liberal. He is not at all reluctant to question party-line assumptions and depart from them when his reasoning gives him good reason to do so. He gave very good time to counter arguments in his course- certainly paying more attention to counter-arguments in his course than John Yoo did in his memo. He is opening to questioning assumptions and I think that is a great quality for a judge. Go Professor Liu- all the way to the Supreme Court!

2/24/2010 12:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

hopefully he'll save some of his clerkship spots for berkeley students. Perhaps he could be our easterbrook!

2/24/2010 1:17 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

9:31/38 here... thanks for the explanation. I didn't know that the seat up for grabs traditionally went to California (although that Wikipedia article does mention a time then a traditional New York Supreme Court seat went to another state).

2/24/2010 9:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It isn't clear, but does anyone know which seat Prof. Liu has been tapped to fill? I assume it's the empty San Francisco seat.

2/25/2010 8:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


2/25/2010 11:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I hope that after he's confirmed he continues to teach now and then at Boalt, à la W. Fletcher.

2/25/2010 11:38 AM  
Blogger Armen said...

"Nominee: Goodwin Liu, of California, to be United States Circuit Judge for the Ninth Circuit, vice a new position created by Public Law 110-177, approved January 7, 2008."

The relevant text of the statute is here (section 509, page 10 of pdf). So it looks like Professor Liu will enter a whole new seat which will be California's. As an aside, I don't know why the WH isn't just stating that "X is nominated to the Ninth Circuit, vice the seat vacated by blah blah blah." There ARE geeks out there who care about this stuff.

2/25/2010 12:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did anyone see the posts in the National Review?

Does this mean it's shaping up to be a tough fight? I'd defer to people with more expertise re. congressional politics. I thought Liu would be a shoo-in, until I saw this.

2/26/2010 10:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

and so it begins . . . . Senator Session'' press release:

"I am very disappointed by President Obama’s nomination of Professor Goodwin Liu to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit—already an activist court that has handed down decisions striking “under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance and finding Megan’s Law to be unconstitutional. I fear that Professor Liu will be an activist judge in this same mold.

Instead of nominating an individual who has demonstrated an impartial commitment to following the Constitution and the rule of law, President Obama has selected someone far outside the mainstream of American jurisprudence. Professor Liu believes that judges should look to “evolving norms and social understandings” in interpreting the Constitution, he has a history of advocating for racial preferences, and he served on the Board of the directors of the ACLU.

Professor Liu’s record will be examined carefully and fairly, and I will withhold final judgment until after his hearing. But it seems to me that his judicial philosophy does not respect the American ideal of judges as neutral arbiters of the law. I hope my initial impressions are wrong."

2/26/2010 2:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What's wrong with that, 2:52? Sessions appears to be doing his job: ensuring that he only votes to confirm someone who he believes will fairly interpret and uphold the Constitution and laws of the United States.

2/26/2010 3:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

didn't say anything was wrong. "and so it begins . . . "

2/26/2010 3:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"There is a hole in your mind."

2/26/2010 4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Liu is not qualified for a lifetime appointment to the bench. He graduated from law school just over a decade ago. He has NEVER argued a case in ANY court.

He has the wrong judicial temperament, having given incendiary testimony against Justice Alito and declaring that Alito was "outside the mainstream" of U.S. jurisprudence. Well, what's good for the goose is good for the gander. If Alito was "outside the mainstream," Liu occupies a difference universe from what is mainstream. He espouses truly radical views of the Constitution, which is easy to do from the Berkeley campus, but to be able to do so from the bench -- without the seasoning that real life experience might afford -- is truly a scary proposition.

Liu should go get some actual court experience, and appellate experience, before he gets put in the position of judging appeals.

This is Obama's worst of numerous bad appointments. It shows that Obama is more interested in populating the federal bench with radicals and ACLUers like Goodwin Liu and Ed Chen (knowing that the radicals will scream "racism" whenever anyone criticizes unqualified minority nominees) than he is in governing from the middle, achieving consensus, and putting qualified people on the bench.

2/27/2010 4:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

seriously? how do you know he hasn't argued in court? i assumed he was some kind of litigator.

2/27/2010 5:25 PM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

4:48--While Liu is pretty young for a judge, there are a several GWB nominees that were the same age or slightly older at nomination (e.g., Gorsuch, Ketheridge).

I don't know if Liu has argued a case in court, but the same can be said for many experienced attorneys. Not all lawyers are trial lawyers. I think there's a strong argument for diversity of legal backgrounds on the bench: business, civil litigation, government, and academia. Particularly for a court of appeals.

Liu's jurisprudential views are fair game, but there's a different standard of review for nominees to SCOTUS, as opposed to "inferior courts." After all, a court of appeals is required to follow SCOTUS precedent; SCOTUS isn't.

Finally, if you are going to call Liu a radical, then you have to substantiate that claim. In detail. To be honest, I doubt you can. And people who engage in ad hominem attacks are all pig-rapists.

2/27/2010 5:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:48 is repeating misrepresentations that I've seen elsewhere. Liu has argued cases in court, including one before the D.C. Circuit--something that very few lawyers ever do in their career. Also, in addition to representing corporate clients while at O'Melveny, he did pro bono work representing indigent clients with the D.C. Public Defender Service, which is considered by many to be the best in the country. Unfortunately, I fear that people like 4:48 and Sessions are not interested in facts. Let's just hope that the other members of the Senate can be more reasonable.

2/27/2010 7:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So Liu argued a single case before the DC Circuit (which, by the way, he lost). This qualifies him for a lifetime appointment on a U.S. appellate court?!? People like 5:34 and 7:18 just don't want to argue the merits, preferring to engage in ad hominem attacks against Senator Sessions and all others who believe that a lifetime Article III appointment to the second-highest federal court in the country should be based on a lifetime of excellence and achievement, instead of a way to plant a radical view of the Constitution on the federal bench under the guise of identity politics. Oh -- but he argued ONE CASE. So his record is 0-1. Pretty undistinguished, if you ask me.

2/27/2010 11:12 PM  
Blogger Armen said...

Hmm, if Alito had been nominated by Obama, I can already see the Republican arguments against him: "He has ZERO private sector experience. Do we want to give a lifetime government employee life tenure in the highest court of the land?" Yep, sounds about right.

2/27/2010 11:25 PM  
Blogger Earl Warren said...

Rather than engage 4:48 and 11:12 on the merits of his arguments -- of which there are none -- I'm more curious where he's coming from. Has the GOP High Command (currently situated somewhere between the Wall Street Journal and Fairbanks) decided to launch an attack on Liu and distributed talking points? Is this just the leading edge? Has the GOP decided it wants to talk about judicial nominees again b/c -- surprise, surprise -- health care could be surging? And is Liu their fattest target?

It's just strange to see such coherent incoherence coming a scant 72 hours after a nomination.

As for the actual arguments above, well, I'm not even sure the poster is a lawyer or a JD. There's the weird locution about a "U.S. appellate court," which is a strange way to put it. And the idea that the President and the Senate should be weighing a nominee's win-loss record is just -- how to put this tactfully? -- dumb.

2/28/2010 12:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

the amount of actual litigation experience a 39 year old has, before a lifetime appointment to the federal appellate court, is a valid criterion. i still can't believe that the correct answer is "one appellate argument." how can we verify that or disprove it?

how long was his stint at the DC office of the federal public defenders? was it a straight-up appointment or one of those things were a big firm loans its associates to the PD for a few months? and did he do any trial work at all?

these are legit questions. i am a Democrat who voted for Obama.

2/28/2010 6:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

4:48's exact same post was posted on the wall street journal law blog:

basically verbatim.

not to say there's anything wrong with speaking in multiple forums, but come on, copying and pasting is pretty lame.

I also want to take umbrage at the notion that Liu's academic work should not count for a lot in considering his viability as a judicial appointment. First of all, it really doesn't get more impressive in terms of pedigree: rhodes scholar, stanford and yale, clerked for ginsberg. he basically has spent his professional life thinking, writing, speaking and teaching about many of the issues he will face on the federal bench. and academia has given him the time and peer community to give proper consideration to these issues.

those of us who have worked full time know the strain that can put on one's ability to consider in an important, thoughtful way legal issues that don't happen to come across our desk.

of course, experience in practice has tremendous value as well, but i see it as a virtue, not a detraction, that our appeals courts are comprised of a diverse range of backgrounds including, yes, academics. (and, from what i know, liu is one of the best among them.)

2/28/2010 10:03 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

This experience thing is sort of silly - if the issue is exposure to appellate practice, then by the end of his first calendar he is going to have more "appellate experience" than most credentialed "appellate lawyers."

As the commentator above pointed out, GL has spent his career thinking, pondering, and working in the law. There is ample fodder within that concrete body of work for someone who opposes him, without focusing on a non-issue.

2/28/2010 10:11 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My basic premise is that judges ought to have significant courtroom experience, preferably in the same tribunal where they will be sitting. You can attack the need for experience as irrelevant or "silly" if you want. I think many will disagree. This is a lifetime appointment, not a training ground.

As for Alito, he had a dozen Supreme Court arguments, as well as years of service as a United States Attorney. Liu, on the other hand, has spent his time advocating radical views about the Constitution, besides serving on the boards of the American Constitution Society, the ACLU, and Chinese for Affirmative Action. He also engaged in broadside attacks on both Chief Justice Roberts (who had many, many appellate and Supreme Court arguments) and Justice Alito.

Now that some are questioning Liu's own qualifications, when the shoe is on the other foot, it's no wonder that his "supporters" (like "Earl Warren") have no recourse but to attack anyone who deigns to criticize this 39-year-old, inexperienced, political ideologue, who is up for a lifetime appointment.

2/28/2010 10:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What "radical views" are you talking about exactly?

If you mean something like holding that that federal restrictions on corporate spending in elections constituted a violation of free speech, which 80% of the country disagreed with, I would agree with you. That would be radical.

2/28/2010 10:54 AM  
Blogger Patrick said...

'The bill of rights should be majoritarian in operation.'


2/28/2010 10:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The point is not so much that the Court's opinions should turn on public opinion, but that if someone is going to attack liu as being outside the mainstream a) they should back it up with some examples of what they're talking about and b) look to the current majority of the Supreme Court, which is not exactly in touch with the mainstream and could be subject to similar claims of "radicalism", depending on how you define that word.

2/28/2010 11:04 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What radical views? See

wherein Liu argues that the Constitution should be interpreted in ways that bend its text around changing popular understandings, societal norms, and evolving conditions. The meaning of the Constitution is not fixed, but somehow morphs and changes (like Silly Putty) based on "how people actually live" (direct quote).

And so who gets to decide what society's "consensus" it? Why, of course, “progressive” judges (like Liu if he is confirmed) who know better, meaning basically that unelected judges with life tenure get to interpret the Constitution to mean pretty much whatever they think is best for society at a given moment. Here, that would be a 39-year-old with little life experience, almost zero litigation experience, and zero judging experience.

To me, that is radical.

And I agree, the corporate free speech decision was pretty radical too. I couldn't have disagreed with it more.

2/28/2010 11:15 AM  
Blogger Sean said...

Age does not magically bestow wisdom. I am not sure exactly why then age is such an important matter for you. Argue his merits all you want, but him being young does not seem important. If his youth has caused deficiencies in his abilities, argue those deficiencies, not his age.

2/28/2010 12:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anthony Kennedy, age 38 when nominated by President Ford for the Ninth Circuit; Alex Kozinski, 35 when nominated by Reagan for the 9th Circuit; Brett Cavanaugh, 38, when nominated by G.W. for the D.C. Circuit.


Same qualms?

2/28/2010 1:01 PM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

10:36--I would agree to your first point if Liu was nominated for a trial court. District court judges need real litigation experience--to understand how trial courts operate (e.g., managing dockets) and to learn how to apply settled law to particular facts.

But appellate courts are different. An appellate judge's primary role is to research, think, make decisions, and write about unsettled areas of law. Law professors do this, too.

11:15--You're implying that belief in a dynamic constitution is outside the mainstream. That's incorrect. In fact, a super-strict originalism (like you seem to describe in your post) is arguably more radical. For example, very few people today would argue that anti-miscegenation laws should be constitutional because the 13-15th amendments weren't meant to prohibit interracial marriage. As with laws prohibiting the sale of contraceptives, this is clearly an area where our understanding of constitutional rights has adapted to changing attitudes over our nation's 200-year history.

I'm not saying that Liu is mainstream; I'm just pointing out that your goalposts are wrong.

2/28/2010 1:34 PM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

I have to admit, though, that I think it was overkill for an ABA committee to unanimously give its highest rating to GL. Accusations that the ABA ha a political bias may have some justification.

2/28/2010 1:47 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Appellate courts make decisions that are binding precedent on all district courts within the circuit. Many decisions turn on interpretation of trial court records. They are not just like professors, who have the luxury of reading, thinking and writing without having to worry about the real world consequences of their decisions. To suggest that trial court experience is irrelevant to a job that turns on understanding and interpreting trial court records is incorrect. Professors don't make decisions about real world things. Judges do. For a professor to be permitted to codify their scholarship into binding precedent is a scary, scary thing to me, especially when that scholarship argues for the plasticity of the Constitution. It would be more comforting to many if the professor's high-minded ideals were tempered by significant real world experience, particularly litigation experience (whether trial or appellate, preferably both). That is why age matters.

It could be that Liu is the very wisest 39 year old in the country. Based on his intemperate and arrogant public attacks on previous Supreme Court nominees, I tend to doubt that.

2/28/2010 2:51 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when frank easterbrook was nominated, the ABA committee gave him a low, "qualified - low qualified" rating, quite unlike liu's unanimous "highly qualified." the stated reason was lack of experience. easterbrook had been out of law school almost precisely the same length as liu, but easterbrook had argued 20 cases before the US Supreme Court and had worked 4 years in the office of the Solicitor General. easterbrook was massively more qualified in practice and had had the same teaching experience.

btw, the ABA committee's guidelines say they normally look for 12 years of litigating experience to be qualified.

2/28/2010 3:07 PM  
Blogger Sean said...

"That is why age matters. "

No; that, you argue, is why litigation experience matters. Not age.

It is true that a judge is more likely to respect the restrictions that trial courts operate under, but pragmatism is not always the ultimate value to search for in judges. Certainly it is something to keep in mind, but well founded notions about what the law ought to be doing are certainly things to take into consideration as well.

I am not arguing in favor of or against GL's nomination; I am just arguing that your points are not particularly convincing.

Also, unrelated side note, boo Canada.

2/28/2010 3:13 PM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

2:51--I understand your point, and am sympathetic to it. You are absolutely correct that judges don't have the luxury of law professors to take entirely hypothetical (and consequence-free) positions.

I also agree that an appellate court should understand what goes on in the trial court. At the same time, no 9th Circuit judge acts unilaterally, because the court always sits in panels. Furthermore, the court can review any decision en banc. Ultimately, circuit decisions are a collaborative process--which is why I think diversity of judicial backgrounds is important.

Some people are concerned with too much constitutional plasticity; others fear rigidity. I think most people agree that the mainstream position is in the middle. I don't think Liu's positions are outside of that mainstream. Particularly when compared to, say, the Burger or Warren Courts.

2/28/2010 3:21 PM  
Blogger Carbolic said...

I brought up the ABA rating issue, but that doesn't mean that I want to see people copying posts from other blogs, like the National Review.

I'm talking to you, 3:07.

2/28/2010 3:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what I can tell, the criticisms of liu (from what looks to be one repeated poster who is copying and pasting from all over the interweb) boil down to three:

1) He doesn't have enough litigation experience

2) His views are well outside the mainstream -- even "radical"

3) He said some mean things about Roberts and Alito

My response

1) It's not true that professors have no influence on the real world. Their law review articles are often cited by judges, and, like those who work for think tanks, their views often influence legislation. Further they shape the minds (arguably) of many future practitioners and judges. They work quite hard and excel quite a bit to reach where they are.

2) The only view of liu's cited as radical is that he believes in some form of dynamic interpretation of the constitution. This is far from radical. You may not agree with it, but as carbolic said, it's within the mainstream.

3) Since when is this a disqualifier for being a federal judge?

2/28/2010 3:43 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is the link to the hearing working for anyone else? I'm having trouble with it...

3/24/2010 11:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

looks like the hearing has been postponed...poor GL had to travel to DC for no reason.

3/24/2010 12:08 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

Only about Liu in a general sense, but worth a read:

4/15/2010 4:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Goodwin Confirmation Hearing:

4/16/2010 8:39 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you posted the wrong link to Choper's letter. It's here:

But yes I would definitely like to see Whalen address it.

4/16/2010 9:35 AM  
Blogger James said...

My favorite moments:

Jon Kyl, "There's nothing wrong with having views that are wrong."

Jeff Sessions, "Words have meaning."

4/16/2010 10:33 AM  
Blogger James said...

Well, I thought he did a good job.

4/16/2010 10:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I liked "justickability."

4/16/2010 12:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

he was very smooth. the republicans didn't gain any ground on him.

4/16/2010 1:11 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So cute! I didn't know if I wanted to marry him or put him in a stroller and push him around the mall.

4/16/2010 1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I felt that Sen. Kyl's line of questioning was pretty effective. More importantly, Kyl clearly has a legal background, and understood the legal principles he was discussing, as opposed to Sessions, who looked like a big boob.

4/16/2010 2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kyl was good, but didn't you feel that the issue was too esoteric for most Americans? i just don't see that line of attack being effective in terms of popular politics.

btw, as someone with legal training, i felt that Liu did backtrack from his articles without appearing to do so. and i also think that he will indeed look for "legislative cover" as rhetorical grounds for introducing liberal policy into his constitutional analysis, but he'll be as smooth in his opinions as he was at the hearing today.

i was surprised at how politically indefensible the old rhetoric of liberal judicial intervention was. Liu didn't just avoid it; he criticized it.

all in all, a good day for GL, for Boalt, for progressive politics.

4/16/2010 2:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

2:27, Sessions does have a legal background - he was once up for a seat on the federal bench himself. If you didn't like what he had to say, it's probably because he wasn't talking to you. He was tossing red meat to a constituency who wants to see him be aggressive on these issues. Remember how Specter was once the republican chair of the committee, and remember how conservatives tried to take his chairmanship because he's moderately pro-choice? Politically, he had a pretty good day.

4/16/2010 5:40 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To be specific, Sessions was a Reagan district court nominee whose nomination was derailed due to his views on race:

4/16/2010 5:54 PM  
Blogger corsii said...

Tom Goldstein:
"The truth is that we should not fear the appointment of brilliant and conscientious lawyers like Goodwin Liu, whether those nominees tare on the ideological left or right. Instead, we should encourage them to take these critical appointments. There is a vibrant disagreement in the courts over how to interpret the Constitution, with no consensus on the correct answer. The jurists participating in that debate are not outside of the 'mainstream.' Nor is Goodwin Liu."

4/16/2010 6:50 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to offer a quick thought on the potential Supreme Court nominees and this seemed like the friendliest place to do it:

I feel like Diane Wood has sort of been the sacrificial lamb for Kagan. If Obama really wanted Wood, wouldn't he have floated someone even further to the left (Pam Karlan?) for the right to shoot down? At this point it sort of seems like Wood has gotten pegged with the "liberal" tag so that when Kagan gets nominated the right can say, alright, he didn't pick the "super-liberal" justice (Wood).

Sorry Diane Wood. Right? Am I misconstruing this?

4/22/2010 11:12 AM  

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